From its roughly similar shape and habits, the swift was classed by early naturalists like a species of swallow, but structurally it is associated with a totally different group, that containing the humming-birds. The swift needs solid support beneath for one function only-nesting; otherwise it may feed, drink, gather nesting-materials, mate as well as sleep while still airborne.
But the air that spends so much of their life should be sufficiently warm and calm for insects to become on the wing, as well as in sudden cold, wet spells the swift may lie up inside a semi-dormant state. Young in the nest are safe against such foodless spells by the capability to assume a situation approaching the cold-blooded torpor of hibernating animals.
The proven fact that it is normally observed on the wing, and not walking, hopping or perching, in conjunction with the fact that its legs and feet are extremely short, resulted in the ancient belief that the swift was footless- a myth perpetuated in the meaning of its scientific name and in the armorial swift, that is the footless ‘martlet’ of heraldry.
The swift’s stay is short for any summer migrant-the three months from early May to early August, a period of time coinciding with high insect population and extended hours of daylight. Even if summer, judged by the thermometer, seems only getting arrived, the swift doesn’t have reason for staying to savor it, once its young can fly. There seems no requirement for the young to bolster their wings with a period of practice-flights; it’s known that the young bird could be hundreds of miles southwards on its first visit to African winter-quarters within two times of its first ‘launching’.
Swifts, for his or her size, are long-lived, for people known to be nineteen and 15 years old take presctiption record; which died, not of old-age, but from accidental causes-including collision at speed with another swift.